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Ridgeway seeks to be 'voice of the people'

City councilman Brad Ridgeway is the Republican candidate for mayor. The local businessman owns and operates, with his wife, Carrie, Nuesound Hearing.

By JEFF BROWN - jbrown@shelbynews.com

Brad Ridgeway is at peace with whatever the outcome will be Tuesday in the General Election.

With just days left in his first campaign to be mayor of Shelbyville, Ridgeway settled into a tan office chair at Nuesound Hearing Tuesday afternoon and talked about being a public official.

“I know the policies have to change. There are policies, in my mind, that just aren’t working for a majority of the people,” said Ridgeway, who is in the final two months of his first term as a city councilman for the Fourth Ward. “I would do it again. It’s been tough but it’s been an honor and a privilege to be in this. How many people get to run for mayor? Win or lose, it’s been a privilege to serve on the council and be a part of something very productive.”

The decision to challenge a two-term incumbent was no easy choice. And Ridgeway had to factor in how his business, Nuesound Hearing, would move forward if he was elected to serve the City of Shelbyville for four years. 

“I would have to have another hearing specialist come in,” he said. “My wife (Carrie Ridgeway, who is running for a city council at-large seat) runs the business part of it and that is a very important aspect of it. It would be harder to replace her than a hearing specialist. 

“We’ve built this business from scratch. People, I think, come here because we’re here. It’s a small business. We’re hands on. They love the personal service. They love us being here. We’re not a chain so we can interact with people and have that small business feel and have a relationship with our patients.”

Ridgeway has built his campaign on being a voice for the people. He has been critical of spending, especially with regard to the downtown redevelopment project championed by the mayor, and the transparency of doing business.

“We haven’t been in this bubble like a lot of people,” said Ridgeway. “When you live in the city and don’t get out a lot and you just go about doing your daily business, you don’t get a lot of talk or feedback like we do. We’ve been out there with the town halls and going door-to-door and running a small business where you can talk to people on a daily basis. You get a pretty good feel where the community wants to go.”

So how does Ridgeway win the election?

“I think it will be a close race,” he said. “I think people will be surprised. You cannot predict this race. Usually you can say this guy has an advantage. I don’t think either one of us has an advantage. 

“It’s hard to beat an incumbent. I think people are looking for a fresh approach to their government. They want a more transparent government, a more open government. They want a government that works for them. I’ve always said that government works best when it works for the people. And I think once they see an individual willing to do that and give them more public input, then I think that’s how you run a successful city. I think that has resonated for the last eight months.”

Ridgeway admits disappointment that supporters on both sides of the campaign have taken to attacking rhetoric rather than embracing the process of the political season.

“That’s the way our campaigns are running nowadays,” he said. “We hit each other very, very hard on the issues. The supporters are very supportive of each candidate, but the ugliness that has come out ... I wish there was this level of embracing the process because this is the American way. 

“It should be an exciting time. This is what wars have been fought over – the freedom to vote. It should be exciting that we can exchange policy instead of yelling at each other, maybe we can just exchange policies and something good comes out of it. That’s what I hope someday in the future, the whole state of Indiana will look at this race and say those guys ran a good race instead of this ugliness that has appeared from the supporters.”

Predicting what will happen Tuesday is no easy task admits Ridgeway.

“God will put me where he wants me so I really don’t like to predict the future,” he said. “We don’t know what the future holds. We’ve been good community members for all these years. We’ve been in this community and we will continue to do that no matter what the future holds.”

Ridgeway wants to stay active in the community in the event he does not win the election.

“I always like to be active. I love to do charity work,” he said. “I would like to be hands on somewhere and be a part of something behind the scenes. I don’t always have to be there out front. I would like something that will affect the well being of the people.”

Election Day

The Shelby County Republicans will be at the local headquarters building, 106 E. Washington Street in Shelbyville, from 6 a.m. until the election results are final Tuesday during the General Election.

The public is invited to come support the Shelby County Republicans. Snacks will be provided.

A team will be on hand to assist with any election need.